Front Page Titles (by Subject) MISCELLANY IV - Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, vol. 3
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MISCELLANY IV - Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, vol. 3 
Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, ed. Douglas den Uyl (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001). 3 vols. Vol. 3.
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Chap. 1.CHAPTER I
Connexion and Union of the Subject-Treatises.—Philosophyin form.—Metaphysicks.—Ego-ity. Identity.—Moral Footing.—Proof and Discipline of the Fancys. Settlement ofOpinion.—Anatomy of the Mind.—A Fable.
WE have already, in the beginning of our preceding Miscellany, taken notice of our Author’s Plan, and the Connection and Dependency of his *Joint-Tracts, comprehended in two preceding Volumes. We are now, in our Commentator-Capacity, arriv’d at length to his second Volume, to which the three Pieces of his first appear preparatory. That they were really so design’d, the Advertisement to the first Edition of his Soliloquy is a sufficient Proof. He took occasion there, in a line or two, under the Name of his Printer, or (as he otherwise calls him) his Amanuensis, to prepare us for a more elaborate and methodical Piece which was to follow. We have this System now before us. Nor need we wonder, such as it is, that it came so hardly into the World, and that our Author has been deliver’d of it with so much difficulty, and after so long a time. His Amanuensis and he, were not, it seems, heretofore upon such good Terms of Correspondence. Otherwise such an unshapen Foetus, or false Birth, as that of which our Author in his † Title-page complains, had not formerly appear’d abroad. Nor had it ever risen again in its more decent Form, but for the accidental Publication of our Author’s First ‡ Letter, which, by a necessary Train of Consequences, occasion’d the revival of this abortive Piece, and gave usherance to its Companions.
It will appear therefore in this Joint-Edition of our Author’s Five Treatises, that the Three former are preparatory to the Fourth, on which we are now enter’d; and the Fifth (with which he concludes) a kind of Apology for this reviv’d Treatise concerning Virtue and Religion.
As for his Apology (particularly in what relates to reveal’d Religion, and a World to come) I commit the Reader to the disputant Divines, and Gentlemen, whom our Author has introduc’d in that concluding Piece of Dialogue-Writing, or rhapsodical Philosophy. Mean while, we have here no other part left us, than to enter into the dryPhilosophy, and rigid Manner of our Author; without any Excursions into various Literature; without help from the Comick or TragickMuse, or from the Flowers of Poetry or Rhetorick.
Such is our present Pattern, and strict moral Task; which our more humorous Reader fore-knowing, may immediately, if he pleases, turn over; skipping (as is usual in many grave Works) a Chapter or two, as he proceeds. We shall, to make amends, endeavour afterwards, in our following Miscellany, to entertain him again with more chearful Fare, and afford him a Dessert, to rectify his Palat, and leave his Mouth at last in good relish.
To the patient and graveReader, therefore, who in order to moralize, can afford to retire into his Closet, as to some religious or devout Exercise, we presume thus to offer a few Reflections, in the support of our Author’s profound Inquiry. And accordingly, we are to imagine our Author speaking, as follows.
HOW LITTLE regard soever may be shewn to that moral Speculation or Inquiry, which we call the Study of our-selves; it must, in strictness, be yielded, That all Knowledg whatsoever depends upon this previous-one: “And that we can in reality be assur’d of nothing, till we are first assur’d of What we areOur-selves.” For by this alone we can know what Certainty and Assurance is.
That there is something undoubtedly which thinks, our very Doubt it-self and scrupulous Thought evinces. But in what Subject that Thought resides, and how that Subject is continu’d one and the same, so as to answer constantly to the suppos’d Train of Thoughts or Reflections which seem to run so harmoniously thro’ a long Course of Life, with the same relation still to one single and self-samePerson; this is not a Matter so easily or hastily decided, by those who are nice Self-Examiners, or Searchers after Truth and Certainty.
’Twill not, in this respect, be sufficient for us to use the seeming Logick of a famous * Modern, and say “We think: therefore We are.” Which is a notably invented Saying, after the Model of that like philosophical Proposition; That “What is, is.”—Miraculously argu’d! “If I am; I am.”—Nothing more certain! For the Ego or I, being establish’d in the first part of the Proposition, the Ergo, no doubt, must hold it good in the latter. But the Question is, “What constitutes the We or I?” And, “Whether the I of this instant, be the same with that of any instant preceding, or to come.” For we have nothing but Memory to warrant us: and Memory may be false. We may believe we have thought and reflected thus or thus: but we may be mistaken. We may be conscious of that, as Truth; which perhaps was no more than Dream: and we may be conscious of that as a past Dream, which perhaps was never before so much as dreamt of.
This is what Metaphysicians mean, when they say, “That Identity can be prov’d only by Consciousness; but that Consciousness, withal, may be as well false as real, in respect of what is past.” So that the same successional We or I must remain still, on this account, undecided.
To the force of this Reasoning I confess I must so far submit, as to declare that for my own part, I take my Being upon Trust. Let others philosophize as they are able: I shall admire their strength, when, upon this Topick, they have refuted what able Metaphysicians object, and Pyrrhonists plead in their own behalf.
Mean while, there is no Impediment, Hinderance, or Suspension of Action, on account of these wonderfully refin’d Speculations. Argument and Debate go on still. Conduct is settled. Rules and Measures are given out, and receiv’d. Nor do we scruple to act as resolutely upon the mere Supposition that we are, as if we had effectually prov’d it a thousand times, to the full satisfaction of our Metaphysical or Pyrrhonean Antagonist.
This to me appears sufficient Ground for a Moralist. Nor do I ask more, when I undertake to prove the reality of Virtue and Morals.
If it be certain that I am; ’tis certain and demonstrable Who and WhatI ought to be, even on my own account, and for the sake of my own private Happiness and Success. For thus I take the liberty to proceed.
The Affections, of which I am conscious, are either Grief, or Joy; Desire, or Aversion. For whatever mere Sensation I may experience; if it amounts to neither of these, ’tis indifferent, and no way affects me.
That which causes Joy and Satisfaction when present, causes Grief and Disturbance when absent: And that which causes Grief and Disturbance when present, does when absent, by the same necessity occasion Joy and Satisfaction.
Thus Love (which implies Desire, with Hope of Good) must afford occasion to Grief and Disturbance, when it acquires not what it earnestly seeks. And Hatred (which implies Aversion, and Fear of Ill) must, in the same manner, occasion Grief and Calamity, when that which it earnestly shun’d, or wou’d have escap’d, remains present, or is altogether unavoidable.
That which being present can never leave the Mind at rest, but must of necessity cause Aversion, is its Ill. But that which can be sustain’d without any necessary Abhorrence, or Aversion, is not its Ill; but remains indifferent in its own nature; the Ill being in the Affection only, which wants redress.
In the same manner, that which being absent, can never leave the Mind at rest, or without Disturbance and Regret, is of necessity its Good. But that which can be absent, without any present or future Disturbance to the Mind, is not its Good, but remains indifferent in its own nature. From whence it must follow, That the Affection towards it, as suppos’dGood, is an ill Affection, and creative only of Disturbance and Disease. So that the Affections of Love and Hatred,Liking and Dislike, on which the Happiness or Prosperity of the Person so much depends, being influenc’d and govern’d by Opinion; the highest Good or Happiness must depend on right Opinion, and the highest Misery be deriv’d from wrong.
To explain this, I consider, for instance, the Fancy or Imagination I have of Death, according as I find this Subject naturally passing in my Mind. To this Fancy, perhaps, I find united an Opinion or Apprehension of Evil and Calamity. Now the more my Apprehension of this Evil increases; the greater, I find, my Disturbance proves, not only at the approach of the suppos’d Evil, but at the very distant Thought of it. Besides that, the Thought it-self will of necessity so much the oftner recur, as the Aversion or Fear is violent, and increasing.
From this suppos’d Evil I must, however, fly with so much the more earnestness, as the Opinion of the Evil increases. Now if the Increase of the Aversion can be no Cause of the Decrease or Diminution of the Evil it-self, but rather the contrary; then the Increase of the Aversion must necessarily prove the Increase of Disappointment and Disturbance. And so on the other hand, the Diminution or Decrease of the Aversion (if this may any way be effected) must of necessity prove the Diminution of inward Disturbance, and the better Establishment of inward Quiet and Satisfaction.
Again, I consider with my-self, That I have the *Imagination of something beautiful, great, and becoming in Things. This Imagination I apply perhaps to such Subjects as Plate, Jewels, Apartments, Coronets, Patents of Honour, Titles, or Precedencys. I must therefore naturally seek these, not as mere Conveniencys, Means, or Helps in Life, (for as such my Passion cou’d not be so excessive towards ’em) but as excellent in them-selves, necessarily attractive of my Admiration, and directly and immediately causing my Happiness, and giving me Satisfaction. Now if thePassion rais’d on this Opinion (call it Avarice, Pride, Vanity, or Ambition) be indeed incapable of any real Satisfaction, even under the most successful Course of Fortune; and then too, attended with perpetual Fears of Disappointment and Loss: how can the Mind be other than miserable, when possess’d by it? But if instead of forming thus the Opinion ofGood; if instead of placing Worth or Excellence in these outward Subjects, we place it, where it is truest, in the Affections or Sentiments, in the governing Part and inward Character; we have then the full Enjoyment of it within our power: The Imagination or Opinion remains steddy and irreversible: And the Love, Desire and Appetite is answer’d; without Apprehension of Loss or Disappointment.
Here therefore arises Work and Employment for us Within: “To regulateFancy, and rectify *Opinion, on which all depends.” For if our Loves, Desires, Hatreds and Aversions are left to themselves; we are necessarily expos’d to endless Vexation and Calamity: but if these are found capable of Amendment, or in any measure flexible or variable by Opinion; we ought, methinks, to make trial, at least, how far we might by this means acquire Felicity and Content.
Accordingly, if we find it evident, on one hand, that by indulging any wrong Appetite (as either Debauch, Malice, or Revenge) the Opinion of the false Good increases; and the Appetite, which is a real Ill, grows so much the stronger: we may be as fully assur’d, on the other hand, that by restraining this Affection, and nourishing a contrary sort in opposition to it; we cannot fail to diminish what is Ill, and increase what is properly our Happiness and Good.
On this account, a Man may reasonably conclude, “That it becomes him, by working upon his own Mind, to withdraw the Fancy or Opinion of Good or Ill from that to which justly and by necessity it is not join’d; and apply it, with the strongest Resolution, to that with which it naturally agrees.” For if the Fancy or Opinion of Good be join’d to what is not durable, nor in my power either to acquire or to retain; the more such an Opinion prevails, the more I must be subject to Disappointment and Distress. But if there be that to which, whenever I apply the Opinion or Fancy of Good, I find the Fancy more consistent, and the Good more durable, solid, and within my Power and Command; then the more such an Opinion prevails in me, the more Satisfaction and Happiness I must experience.
Now, if I join the Opinion of Good to the Possessions of the Mind; if it be in the Affections themselves that I place my highest Joy, and in those Objects, whatever they are, of inward Worth and Beauty, (such as Honesty, Faith, Integrity, Friendship, Honour) ’tis evident I can never possibly, in this respect, rejoice amiss, or indulge my-self too far in the Enjoyment. The greater my Indulgence is, the less I have reason to fear either Reverse or Disappointment.
This, I know, is far contrary in another Regimen of Life. The Tutorage of Fancy and Pleasure, and the easy Philosophy of taking that for Good which *pleases me, or which I fansy merely, will, in time, give me Uneasiness sufficient. ’Tis plain, from what has been debated, That the less fanciful I am, in what relates to my Content and Happiness, the more powerful and absolute I must be, in Self-enjoyment, and the Possession of my Good. And since ’tis Fancy merely, which gives the force of Good, or power of passing as such, to Things of Chance and outward Dependency; ’tis evident, that the more I take from Fancy in this respect, the more I confer upon my-self. As I am less led or betray’d by Fancy to an Esteem of what depends on others; I am the more fix’d in the Esteem of what depends on myself alone. And if I have once gain’d the Taste of *Liberty, I shall easily understand the force of this Reasoning, and know both my trueSelf and Interest.
The Method therefore requir’d in this my inward OEconomy, is, to make those Fancys themselves the Objects of my Aversion which justly deserve it; by being the Cause of a wrong Estimation and Measure of Good and Ill, and consequently the Cause of my Unhappiness and Disturbance.
Accordingly (as the learned Masters in this Science advise) we are to begin rather † by the averse, than by the prone and forward Disposition. We are to work rather by the weaning than the ingaging Passions: since if we give way chiefly to Inclination, by loving, applauding and admiring what is Great and Good, we may possibly, it seems, in some high Objects of that kind, be so amus’d and extasy’d, as to lose our-selves, and miss our proper Mark, for want of a steddy and settled Aim. But being more sure and infallible in what relates to our Ill, we shou’d begin, they tell us, by applying our Aversion, on that side, and raising our Indignation against those Meannesses of Opinion and Sentiment, which are the Causes of our Subjection, and Perplexity.
Thus the covetous Fancy, if consider’d as the Cause of Misery, (and consequently detested as a real Ill) must of necessity abate: And the ambitious Fancy, if oppos’d in the same manner, with Resolution, by better Thought, must resign it-self, and leave the Mind free, and disincumber’d in the pursuit of its better Objects.
Nor is the Case different in the Passion of Cowardice, or Fear of Death. For if we leave this Passion to it-self, (or to certain Tutors to manage for us) it may lead us to the most anxious and tormenting State of Life. But if it be oppos’d by sounder Opinion, and a just Estimation of things, it must diminish of course: And the natural Result of such a Practice must be, the Rescue of the Mind from numberless Fears, and Miserys of other kinds.
Thus at last a Mind, by knowing it-self, and its own proper Powers and Virtues, becomes free, and independent. It sees its Hindrances and Obstructions, and finds they are wholly from it-self, and from Opinions wrong-conceiv’d. The more it conquers in this respect, (be it in the least particular) the more it is its own Master, feels its own naturalLiberty, and congratulates with it-self on its own Advancement and Prosperity.
Whether some who are call’d Philosophers have so apply’d their Meditations, as to understand any thing of this Language, I know not. But well I am assur’d that many an honest and free-hearted Fellow, among the vulgar Rank of People, has naturally some kind of Feeling or Apprehension of this Self-enjoyment; when refusing to act for Lucre or outward Profit, the Thing which from his Soul he abhors, and thinks below him; he goes on, with harder Labour, but more Content, in his direct plain Path. He is secure within; free of what the World calls Policy, or Design; and sings, according to the old Ballad,
My Mind to me a Kingdom is, &c.
Which in Latin we may translate,
BUT I FORGET, it seems, that I am now speaking in the Person of our graveInquirer. I shou’d consider I have no Right to vary from the Pattern he has set; and that whilst I accompany him in this particular Treatise, I ought not to make the least Escape out of the high Road of Demonstration, into the diverting Paths of Poetry, or Humour.
As grave however as Morals are presum’d in their own nature, I look upon it as an essential matter in their Delivery, to take now and then the natural Air of Pleasantry. The first Morals which were ever deliver’d in the World, were in Parables, Tales, or Fables. And the latter and most consummate Distributers of Morals, in the very politest times, were great Tale-Tellers, and Retainers to honest AEsop.
After all the regular Demonstrations and Deductions of our grave Author, I dare say ’twou’d be a high Relief and Satisfaction to his Reader, to hear an Apologue, or Fable, well told, and with such humour as to need no sententious Moral at the end, to make the application.
As an Experiment in this case, let us at this instant imagine our grave Inquirer taking pains to shew us, at full length, the unnatural and unhappy Excursions, Rovings, or Expeditions of our ungovern’d Fancys and Opinions over a World of Riches, Honours, and other ebbing and flowing Goods. He performs this, we will suppose, with great Sagacity, to the full measure and scope of our Attention. Mean while, as full or satiated as we might find our-selves of serious and solid Demonstration, ’tis odds but we might find Vacancy still sufficient to receive Instruction by another Method. And I dare answer for success, shou’d a merrier Moralist of the AEsopaean-School present himself; and, hearing of this Chace describ’d by our Philosopher, beg leave to represent it to the life, by a homely Cur or two, of his Master’s ordinary breed.
“Two of this Race” (he wou’d tell us) “having been daintily bred, and in high thoughts of what they call’d Pleasure and good Living, travel’d once in quest of Game and Raritys, till they came by accident to the Sea-side. They saw there, at a distance from the shore, some floating pieces of a Wreck, which they took a fancy to believe some wonderful rich Dainty, richer than Amber-greese, or the richest Product of the Ocean. They cou’d prove it, by their Appetite and Longing, to be no less than Quintessence of the Main, ambrosial Substance, the Repast of marine Deitys, surpassing all which Earth afforded.—By these rhetorical Arguments, after long Reasoning with one another in this florid Vein, they proceeded from one Extravagance of Fancy to another; till they came at last to this issue. Being unaccustom’d to Swimming, they wou’d not, it seems, in prudence, venture so far out of their Depth as was necessary to reach their imagin’d Prize: But being stout Drinkers, they thought with themselves, they might compass to drink all which lay in their way; even TheSea it-self; and that by this method they might shortly bring their Goods safe to dry Land. To work therefore they went; and drank till they were both burst.”
For my own part, I am fully satisfy’d that there are more Sea-drinkers than one or two, to be found among the principal Personages of Mankind; and that if these Dogs of ours were silly Curs, many who pass for wise in our own Race are little wiser; and may properly enough be said to have the Sea to drink.
’Tis pretty evident that they who live in the highest Sphere of human Affairs, have a very uncertain View of the thing call’d Happiness or Good. It lies out at Sea, far distant, in the Offin; where those Gentlemen ken it but very imperfectly: And the means they employ in order to come up with it, are very wide of the matter, and far short of their propos’d End.—“First a general Acquaintance.—Visits, Levees.—Attendance upon the Great and Little.—Popularity.—A Place in Parliament.—Then another at Court.—Then Intrigue, Corruption, Prostitution.—Then a higher Place.—Then a Title.—Then a Remove.—A newMinister!—Fractions at Court.—Ship-wreck of Ministrys—The new: The old.—Engage with one: piece up with t’other.—Bargains; Losses; After-Games; Retrievals.”—Is not this, the Sea to drink?
* But if riches could make you wise, if they could make you less lustful, less easily frightened, of course you would blush to have any one alive more avaricious than you.
But lest I shou’d be tempted to fall into a manner I have been oblig’d to disclaim in this part of my Miscellaneous Performance; I shall here set a Period to this Discourse, and renew my attempt of serious Reflection and grave Thought, by taking up my Clew in a fresh Chapter.
Chap. 2.CHAPTER II
Passage from Terra Incognita to the visible World.—Mistress-ship ofNature.—Animal-Confederacy, Degrees, Subordination.—Master-Animal Man. Privilege of his Birth.—Serious Countenance of the Author.
AS heavily as it went with us, in the deep philosophical part of our preceding Chapter; and as necessarily engag’d as we still are to prosecute the same serious Inquiry, and Search, into those dark Sources; ’tis hop’d, That our remaining Philosophy may flow in a more easy Vein; and the second Running be found somewhat clearer than the first. However it be; we may, at least, congratulate with our-selves for having thus briefly pass’d over that Metaphysical part, to which we have paid sufficient deference. Nor shall we scruple to declare our Opinion, “That it is, in a manner, necessary for one who wou’d usefully philosophize, to have a Knowledg in this part of Philosophy, sufficient to satisfy him that there is no Knowledg or Wisdom to be learnt from it.” For of this Truth nothing besides Experience and Study will be able fully to convince him.
When we are even past these empty Regions and Shadows of Philosophy; ’twill still perhaps appear an uncomfortable kind of travelling thro’ those other invisible Ideal Worlds: such as the Study of Morals, we see, engages us to visit. Men must acquire a very peculiar and strong Habit of turning their Eye inwards, in order to explore the interior Regions and Recesses of the Mind, the hollow Caverns of deep Thought, the private Seats of Fancy, and the Wastes and Wildernesses, as well as the more fruitful and cultivated Tracts of this obscure Climate.
But what can one do? Or how dispense with these darker Disquisitions and Moon-light Voyages, when we have to deal with a sort of Moon-blindWits, who tho very acute and able in their kind, may be said to renounce Day-light, and extinguish, in a manner, the bright visible outward World, by allowing us to know nothing beside what we can prove, by strict and formal Demonstration?
’Tis therefore to satisfy such rigid Inquirers as these, that we have been necessitated to proceed by the inward way; and that in our preceding Chapter we have built only on such foundations as are taken from our very Perceptions, Fancys, Appearances, Affections, and Opinions themselves, without regard to any thing of an exteriorWorld, and even on the supposition that there is no such World in being.
Such has been our late dry Task. No wonder if it carrys, indeed, a meagre and raw Appearance. It may be look’d on, in Philosophy, as worse than a mere EgyptianImposition. For to make Brick without Straw or Stubble, is perhaps an easier labour, than to prove Morals without a World, and establish a Conduct of Life without the Supposition of any thing living or extant besides our immediate Fancy, and Worldof Imagination.
But having finished this mysterious Work, we come now to open Day, and Sunshine: And, as a Poet perhaps might express himself, we are now ready to quit
We are, henceforward, to trust our Eyes, and take for real the whole Creation, andthe fair Forms which lie before us. We are to believe the Anatomy of our own Body, and in proportionable Order, the Shapes, Forms, Habits, and Constitutions of other Animal-Races. Without demurring on the profound modern Hypothesis of animal Insensibility, we are to believe firmly and resolutely, “That other Creatures have their Sense and Feeling, their mere Passions and Affections, as well as our-selves.” And in this manner we proceed accordingly, on our Author’s Scheme, “To inquire what is truly natural to each Creature: And Whether that which is natural to each, and is its Perfection, be not withal its Happiness, or Good.”
To deny there is any thing properly natural, (after the Concessions already made) wou’d be undoubtedly very preposterous and absurd. Nature and the outward World being own’d existent, the rest must of necessity follow. The Anatomy of Bodys, the Order of the Spheres, the proper Mechanisms of a thousand kinds, and the infinite Ends and sutable Means establish’d in the general Constitution and Order of Things; all this being once admitted, and allow’d to pass as certain and unquestionable, ’tis as vain afterwards to except against the Phrase of natural and unnatural, and question the Propriety of this Speech apply’d to the particular Forms and Beings in the World, as it wou’d be to except against the common Appellations of Vigour and Decay in Plants, Health or Sickness in Bodys, Sobriety or Distraction in Minds, Prosperity or Degeneracy in any variable part of the known Creation.
We may, perhaps, for Humour sake, or after the known way of disputant Hostility, in the support of any odd Hypothesis, pretend to deny this natural and unnatural in Things. ’Tis evident, however, that tho our Humour or Taste be, by such Affectation, ever so much deprav’d; we cannot resist our natural *Anticipation in behalf ofNature; according to whose suppos’d Standard we perpetually approve and disapprove, and to whom in all natural Appearances, all moral Actions (whatever we contemplate, whatever we have in debate) we inevitably appeal, and pay our constant Homage, with the most apparent Zeal and Passion.
’Tis here, above all other places, that we say with strict Justice,
* You may turn out nature with a pitchfork, yet back she will keep coming.
The airy Gentlemen, who have never had it in their thoughts to studyNature in their own Species; but being taken with other Loves, have apply’d their Parts and Genius to the same Study in a Horse, a Dog, a Game-Cock, a Hawk, or any other † Animal of that degree; know very well, that to each Species there belongs a several Humour, Temper, and Turn of inward Disposition, as real and peculiar as the Figure and outward Shape, which is with so much Curiosity beheld and admir’d. If there be any thing ever so little amiss or wrong in the inward Frame, the Humour or Temper of the Creature, ’tis readily call’d vicious; and when more than ordinarily wrong, unnatural. The Humours of the Creatures, in order to their redress, are attentively observ’d; sometimes indulg’d and flatter’d; at other times controul’d and check’d with proper Severitys. In short, their Affections, Passions, Appetites, and Antipathys, are as duly regarded as those in Human Kind, under the strictest Discipline of Education. Such is theSenseof inward Proportion and Regularity of Affections, even in our Noble Youths them-selves; who in this respect are often known expert and able Masters of Education, tho not so susceptible of Discipline and Culture in their own case, after those early Indulgences to which their Greatness has intitled ’em.
As little favourable however as these sportly Gentlemen are presum’d to show themselves towards the Care or Culture of their own Species; as remote as their Contemplations are thought to lie from Nature and Philosophy; they confirm plainly and establish our philosophical Foundation of the natural Ranks, Orders, interior and exterior Proportions of the several distinct Species and Forms of Animal Beings. Ask one of these Gentlemen, unawares, when sollicitously careful and busy’d in the great Concerns of his Stable, or Kennel, “Whether his Hound or Greyhound-Bitch who eats her Puppys, is as natural as the other who nurses ’em?” and he will think you frantick. Ask him again, “Whether he thinks the unnatural Creature who acts thus, or the natural-one who does otherwise, is best in its kind, and enjoys it-self the most?” And he will be inclin’d to think still as strangely of you. Or if perhaps he esteems you worthy of better Information; he will tell you, “That his best-bred Creatures, and of the truest Race, are ever the noblest and most generous in their Natures: That it is this chiefly which makes the difference between the Horse of good Blood, and the errant Jade of a base Breed; between the Game-Cock, and the Dunghil-Craven; between the true Hawk, and the mere Kite or Buzzard; and between the right Mastiff, Hound, or Spaniel, and the very Mungrel.” He might, withal, tell you perhaps with a masterly Air in this Brute-Science, “That the timorous, poor-spirited, lazy and gluttonous of his Dogs, were those whom he either suspected to be of a spurious Race, or who had been by some accident spoil’d in their Nursing and Management: for that this was not natural to ’em. That in every Kind, they were still the miserablest Creatures who were thus spoil’d: And that having each of ’em their proper Chace or Business, if they lay resty and out of their Game, chamber’d, and idle, they were the same as if taken out of their Element. That the saddest Curs in the world, were those who took the Kitchin-Chimney and Dripping-pan for their Delight; and that the only happyDog (were one to be a DogOne’s-Self) was he, who in his proper Sport and Exercise, his natural Pursuit and Game, endur’d all Hardships, and had so much delight in Exercise and in the Field, as to forget Home and his Reward.”
Thus the natural Habits and Affections of the inferior Creatures are known; and their unnatural and degenerate part discover’d. Depravity and Corruption is acknowledg’d as real in their Affections, as when any thing is mishapen, wrong, or monstrous in their outward Make. And notwithstanding much of this inward Depravity is discoverable in the Creatures tam’d by Man, and, for his Service or Pleasure merely, turn’d from their natural Course into a contrary Life and Habit; notwithstanding that, by this means, the Creatures who naturally herd with one another, lose their associating Humour, and they who naturally pair and are constant to each other, lose their kind of conjugal Alliance and Affection; yet when releas’d from human Servitude, and return’d again to their natural Wilds, and rural Liberty, they instantly resume their natural and regular Habits, such as are conducing to the Increase and Prosperity of their own Species.
Well it is perhaps for Mankind, that tho there are so many Animals who naturally herd for Company’s sake, and mutual Affection, there are so few who for Conveniency, and by Necessity are oblig’d to a strict Union, and kind of confederate State. The Creatures who, according to the OEconomy of their Kind, are oblig’d to make themselves Habitations of Defense against the Seasons and other Incidents; they who in some parts of the Year are depriv’d of all Subsistence, and are therefore necessitated to accumulate in another, and to provide withal for the Safety of their collected Stores, are by their Nature indeed as strictly join’d, and with as proper Affections towards their Publick and Community, as the looser Kind, of a more easy Subsistence and Support, are united in what relates merely to their Offspring, and the Propagation of their Species. Of these thorowly associating and confederate-Animals, there are none I have ever heard of, who in Bulk or Strength exceed theBeaver. The major part of these political Animals, and Creatures of a joint Stock, are as inconsiderable as the Race of Ants or Bees. But had Nature assign’d such an OEconomy as this to so puissant an Animal, for instance, as theElephant, and made him withal as prolifick as those smaller Creatures commonly are; it might have gone hard perhaps with Mankind: And a single Animal, who by his proper Might and Prowess has often decided the Fate of the greatest Battels which have been fought by Human Race, shou’d he have grown up into a Society, with a Genius for Architecture and Mechanicks proportionable to what we observe in those smaller Creatures; we shou’d, with all our invented Machines, have found it hard to dispute with him the Dominion of the Continent.
Were we in a disinterested View, or with somewhat less Selfishness than ordinary, to consider the OEconomys, Parts, Interests, Conditions, and Terms of Life, which Nature has distributed and assign’d to the several Species of Creatures round us, we shou’d not be apt to think our-selves so hardly dealt with. But Whether our Lot in this respect be just, or equal, is not the Question with us, at present. ’Tis enough that we know “There is certainly an Assignment and Distribution: That each OEconomy or Part so distributed, is in it-self uniform, fix’d, and invariable: and That if any thing in the Creature be accidentally impair’d; if any thing in the inward Form, the Disposition, Temper or Affections, be contrary or unsutable to the distinct OEconomy or Part, the Creature is wretched and unnatural.”
The social or natural Affections, which our Author considers as essential to the Health, Wholeness, or Integrity of the particular Creature, are such as contribute to the Welfare and Prosperity of that Whole or Species, to which he is by Nature join’d. All the Affections of this kind our Author comprehends in that single name of natural. But as the Design or End of Nature in each Animal-System, is exhibited chiefly in the Support and Propagation of the particular Species; it happens, of consequence, that those Affections of earliest Alliance and mutual Kindness between the Parent and the Offspring, are known more particularly by the name of *natural Affection. However, since it is evident that all Defect or Depravity of Affection, which counterworks or opposes the original Constitution and OEconomy of the Creature, is unnatural; it follows, “That in Creatures who by their particular OEconomy are fitted to the strictest Society and Rule of common Good, the most unnatural of all Affections are those which separate from this Community; and the mosttruly natural, generous and noble, are those which tend towards Publick Service, and the Interest of theSocietyat large.”
This is the main Problem which our Author in more philosophical Terms demonstrates, * in this Treatise, “That for a Creature whose natural End is Society, to operate as is by Nature appointed him towards the Good of such hisSociety,orWhole, is in reality to pursue his own natural and properGood.” And “That to operate contrary-wise, or by such Affections as sever from that common Good, or publick Interest, is, in reality, to work towards his own natural and properIll.” Now if Man, as has been prov’d, be justly rank’d in the number of those Creatures whose OEconomy is according to a joint-Stock and publick-Weal; if it be understood, withal, that the only State of his Affections which answers rightly to this publick-Weal, is the regular, orderly, or virtuous State; it necessarily follows, “That Virtue is his natural Good, and Vice his Misery and Ill.”
As for that further Consideration, “Whether Nature has orderly and justly distributed the several OEconomys or Parts; and Whether the Defects, Failures, or Calamitys of particular Systems are to the advantage of all in general, and contribute to the Perfection of the one common and universal System”; we must refer to our Author’s profounder Speculations in this his Inquiry, and in his following PhilosophickDialogue. But if what he advances in this respect be real, or at least the most probable by far of any Scheme or Representation which can be made of the Universal Nature and Cause of things; it will follow, “That since Man has been so constituted, by means of his rational Part, as to be conscious of this his more immediate Relation to the Universal System, and Principle of Order and Intelligence; he is not only by Nature sociable, within the Limits of his own Species, or Kind; but in a yet more generous and extensive manner. He is not only born toVirtue,Friendship, Honesty, and Faith; but to Religion,Piety, Adoration, and * a generous Surrender of his Mind to whatever happens from that SupremeCause, or Order of Things, which he acknowledges intirely just, and perfect.”
THESE ARE our Author’s formal and grave Sentiments; which if they were not truly his, and sincerely espous’d by him, as the real Result of his best Judgment and Understanding, he wou’d be guilty of a more than common degree of imposture. For, according to his own † Rule, an affected Gravity, and feign’d Seriousness carry’d on, thro’ any Subject, in such a manner as to leave no Insight into the Fiction or intended Raillery; is in truth no Raillery, or Wit, at all; but a gross, immoral, and illiberal way of Abuse, foreign to the Character of a good Writer, a Gentleman, or Man ofWorth.
But since we have thus acquitted our-selves of that serious Part, of which our Reader was before-hand well appriz’d; let him now expect us again in our original Miscellaneous Manner and Capacity. ’Tis here, as has been explain’d to him, that Raillery and Humour are permitted: and Flights, Sallys, and Excursions of every kind are found agreeable and requisite. Without this, there might be less Safety found, perhaps, in Thinking. Every light Reflection might run us up to the dangerous State of Meditation. And in reality, profound Thinking is many times the Cause of shallow Thought. To prevent this contemplative Habit and Character, of which we see so little good effect in the World, we have reason perhaps to be fond of the diverting Manner in Writing, and Discourse, especially if the Subject be of a solemn kind. There is more need, in this case, to interrupt the long-spun Thred of Reasoning, and bring into the Mind, by many different Glances and broken Views, what cannot so easily be introduc’d by one steddy Bent, or continu’d Stretch of Sight.
[* ] Above, pag. 135. Again below, 284, 285, &c.
[† ]Viz. To the INQUIRY (Treatise IV.) VOL. II.
[‡ ]Viz. Letter of Enthusiasm, VOL. I.
[* ] Monsieur Des Cartes.
[* ] Of the necessary Being and Prevalency of some such IMAGINATION or SENSE (natural and common to all Men, irresistible, of original Growth in the Mind, the Guide of our Affections, and the Ground of our Admiration, Contempt, Shame, Honour, Disdain, and other natural and unavoidable Impressions) see VOL. I. pag. 138, 139, 336, 337. VOL. II. pag. 28, 29, 30, 394, 420, 421, 429, 430. And above, p. 30, 31, 2, 3, &c. 182, 3, 4, 5, 6. in the Notes.
[* ] ὅτι πάντα ἡ ὑπόληψις, καὶ αὐτὴ ἐπὶ σοί. ἀ̑ρον οὐ̑ν ὅτε θέλεις τὴν ὑπόληψιν, καὶ ὥσπερ κάμψαντι τὴν ἄκραν γαλήνη, σταθερὰ πάντα καὶ κόλπος ἀκύμων. [What view you take is everything, and your view is in your power. Remove it then when you choose, and then, as if you had rounded the cape, come calm serenity, a waveless bay.] M. Ant. Lib. xii. 22.
οἱ̑όν ἐοτιν ἡ λεκάνη του̑ ὕδατος, τοιου̑τον ἡ ψυχή. οἱ̑ον ἡ αὐγὴ ἡ προσπίπτουσα τῳ̑ ὕδατι, τοιου̑τον αἱ φαντασίαι. ὅταν οὐ̑ν τὸ ὕδωρ κινηθῃ̑, δοκει̑ μὲν καὶ ἡ αὐγὴ κινει̑σθαι. οὐ μέντοι κινει̑ται· καὶ ὅταν τοίνυν σκοτωθῃ̑ τίς, οὐχ αἱ τέχναι καὶ αἱ ἀρεταὶ συγχέονται, ἀλλὰ τὸ πνευ̑μα ἐφ’ οὑ̑ εἰσί· καταστάντος δὲ, καθίσταται κἀκει̑να. [As is the water-dish, so is the soul; as is the ray which falls on the water, so are the appearances. When then the water is moved the ray too seems to be moved, yet is not. And when, accordingly, a man is giddy, it is not the arts and the virtues which are thrown into confusion, but the spirit to which they belong; and when he is recovered so are they.] Arrian. Lib. iii. cap. 3. See VOL. I. pag. 185, &c. 294, 5, 6, 324, &c. And VOL. II. pag. 437.
[* ] VOL. I. pag. 308. VOL. II. pag. 227.
[* ] VOL. II. pag. 432. And below, pag. 307, &c.
[† ] ἁ̑ρον οὐ̑ν τὴω ἔκκλισιν ἀπὸ πάντων τω̑ν οὐκ ἐφ’ ἡμι̑ν, καὶ μετάθες ἐπὶ τὰ παρὰ φύσιν τω̑ν ἐφ’ ἡμι̑ν. [Give up then aversion from all things which are not in our power; transfer it to the things contrary to nature which are in our power.] Epictet. Enchirid. cap. vii.
ὄρεξιν ἀ̑ραί σε δει̑ παντελω̑ς, ἔκκλισιν ἐπὶ μόνα νεταθει̑ναι τὰ προαιρετικά. [You must do away with desire altogether, and transfer aversion to those things only which are within the scope of the will.] Arrian. Lib. iii. cap. 22. This subdu’d or moderated Admiration or Zeal in the highest Subjects of Virtue and Divinity, the Philosopher calls σύμμετρον καὶ καθισταμένην τὴν ὄρεξιν [Desire settled and proportioned to its objects.]; the contrary Disposition, τὸ ἄλογον καὶ ὠστικόν. [Unreasonable and pushing.] Lib. ii. cap. 26. The Reason why this over-forward Ardor and Pursuit of high Subjects runs naturally into Enthusiasm and Disorder, is shewn in what succeeds the first of the Passages here cited; viz. τω̑ν δὲ ἐφ ἡμι̑ν, ὅσαν ὀρέγεσθαι καλὸν ἄν, οὐδὲν οὐδέτω σοι πάρεστι. [And of things in our power, such as it would be well to desire, no one is yet set before you.] And hence the repeated Injunction, ἀπόσχου ποτὲ παντάποσιν ὀρέξεως, ἵνα ποτὲ καὶ εὐλόγως ὀρεχθη̑ςῃ εἰ δ’ εὐλόγως, ὅταν ἔχῃς τί ἐν σεαυτῳ̑ ἀγαθὸν εὐ̑ ὀρεχθήση. [Keep away altogether from desire, in order that you may some day have a desire with good reason; and if with good reason, when you have anything good in you, you will desire well.] Lib. iii. cap. 13. To this Horace, in one of his latest Epistles of the deeply philosophical kind, alludes.
[The wise man must be called mad, the fair man unfair, if he seek even virtue too keenly.]
And in the beginning of the Epistle:
[Not to admire is all the art I know,
To make men happy and to keep them so.—Pope’s version.]
For tho these first Lines (as many other of Horace’s on the Subject of Philosophy) have the Air of the EpicureanDiscipline and Lucretian Style; yet by the whole taken together, it appears evidently on what System of antient Philosophy this Epistle was form’d. Nor was this Prohibition of the wondering or admiring Habit, in early Students, peculiar to one kind of Philosophy alone. It was common to many; however the Reason and Account of it might differ, in one Sect from the other. The Pythagoreans sufficiently check’d their Tyro’s, by silencing them so long on their first Courtship to Philosophy. And tho Admiration, in the Peripatetick Sense, as above-mention’d, may be justly call’d the inclining Principle or first Motive to PHILOSOPHY; yet this Mistress, when once espous’d, teaches us to admire, after a different manner from what we did before. See above, pag. 37. And VOL. I. pag. 41.
[* ] I wrap myself in my own merits and seek as my bride honest poverty, undowered. Horat. Lib. iii. Od. xxix. ver. 54.
[* ] See what is said above on the word Sensus Communis, in that second Treatise, VOL. I. pag. 103, &c. and pag. 110, 138, 139, 140. And in the same VOL. p. 336, &c. and 352, 353, &c. And in VOL. II. p. 307, 411, 412, &c. concerning the natural Ideas, and the Pre-conceptions or Pre-sensations of this kind; the προλήψεις [anticipations], of which a learned Critick and Master in all Philosophy, modern and antient, takes notice, in his lately publish’d Volume of Socratick Dialogues; where he adds this Reflection, with respect to some Philosophical Notions much in vogue amongst us, of late, here in England.Obiter dumtaxat addemus, Socraticam, quam exposuimus, Doctrinam magno usui esse posse, si probè expendatur, dirimendae inter viros doctos controversiae, ante paucos annos, inBritanniapraesertim, exortae, de Ideis Innatis, quas dicerc possis ἐμφύτους ἐννοίας. Quamvis enim nullae sint, si adcuratè loquamur, notiones à natura animis nostris infixae; attamen nemo negárit ita esse facultates Animorum nostrorum naturâ adfectas, ut quàm primùm ratione uti incipimus, Verum à Falso, Malum à Bono aliquo modo distinguere incipiamus. Species Veritatis nobis semper placet; displicet contra Mendacii: Imo & HONESTUM INHONESTO praeferimus; ob Semina nobis indita, quae tum demum in lucem prodeunt, cum ratiocinari possumus, eoque uberiores fructus proferunt, quo melius ratiocinamur, adcuratioreque institutione adjuvamur. [Incidentally let us add, precisely speaking, that the Socratic teaching which we have presented can be of great use, if it should be rightly estimated, to the divisive controversies among learned men having arisen a few years ago chiefly in Britain about innate conceptions which you can call [innate ideas]. For although, if we should speak accurately, there may be no conceptions imprinted on our minds by nature, nevertheless no one would deny that the faculties of our minds have been shaped by nature so that as soon as we start to use reason we begin to distinguish in some fashion truth from falsity, evil from good. The appearance of truth is always pleasing to us; on the other hand that of mendacity is displeasing and certainly we prefer honor to disgrace on account of the seeds planted in us which eventually spring up into the light at a time when we are able to reason; and then when the richer fruits mature by which we reason better, we are guided for public duty and education.] AEsch. Dial. cum Silvis Philol. Jo. Cler. ann. 1711. pag. 176. They seem indeed to be but weak Philosophers, tho able Sophists, and artful Confounders of Words and Notions, who wou’d refute Nature and Common Sense. But NATURE will be able still to shift for her-self, and get the better of those Schemes, which need no other Force against them, than that of Horace’s single Verse:
[The wolf bites, the bull tosses you: how did they learn it, but by instinct?]
An ASS (as an English Author says) never butts with his Ears; tho a Creature born to an arm’d Forehead, exercises his butting Faculty long ere his Horns are come to him. And perhaps if the Philosopher wou’d accordingly examine himself, and consider his natural Passions, he wou’d find there were such belong’d to him as Nature had premeditated in his behalf, and for which she had furnish’d him with Ideas long before any particular Practice or Experience of his own. Nor wou’d he need be scandaliz’d with the Comparison of a Goat, or Boar, or other of Horace’s premeditating Animals, who have more natural Wit, it seems, than our Philosopher; if we may judg of him by his own Hypothesis, which denies the same implanted SENSE and natural Ideas to his own Kind.
[To-morrow a kid shall be sacrificed to you, a kid whose brow just sprouting with horns promises him a life of love and fighting.]
[The boar who practises his side-long slash.]
[† ] VOL. II. pag. 92, 93, &c. and 131, &c. and pag. 307, &c.
[* ] στοργή [love of parents and children]; for which we have no particular Name in our Language.
[* ]Viz. The INQUIRY concerning Virtue, VOL. II.
[* ] VOL. II. pag. 72, 73, &c.
[† ] VOL. I. pag. 63.